Last week, Against Me made their way through Buffalo NY, at the tail end of their North American tour, supporting their latest album, Shape Shift With Me. Joining them on the road was The Dirty Nil, and Bleached, two bands I wasn’t familiar with before the show. Getting to the Ballroom early to catch these bands really paid off. Both seemed like the perfect pairing to compliment the headliner, and did a great job at warming the crowd up.
Against Me took the stage and opened the show with “True Trans Soul Rebel”, a song that’s become a bit of an anthem for the band’s latest era, and packs just as much of a punch as it did when it was released a few years back. Although I was familiar with them before, it was 2014’s "Transgender Dysphoria Blues" that really hooked me into Against Me’s world.
After taking the stage after 10pm, I questioned how long the set would actually be. However, the band managed to blast through 27 songs, spanning their entire career, including a good chunk of their debut album, Reinventing Axl Rose. Before performing their cover of “Running Down A Dream”, Laura Jane Grace took a moment to emphasize the impact that the late Tom Petty had on her musical career, and how it all started with her “playing” his songs on a tennis racket into a mirror.
Laura kicked of the encore with another cover, the acoustic jam “The Best Death Metal Band in Denton”, originally by The Mountain Goats. The band closed out the night with sing-along favorites “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong”, “Baby, I’m an Anarchist!”, and “Sink, Florida Sink”.
A close friend of mine who has since passed away first introduced me to Against Me during college, with his cover of “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong” at many college house shows. I remember hearing his rendition and thinking how it perfectly encapsulated the atmosphere of a party, crammed packed with friends. We bonded over the group’s music, as he introduced me to a good amount of their catalog. Then I was finally able to catch them live at Riot Fest in Chicago in 2013. After my friend passed a couple years ago, listening to Against Me’s music has become even more of an emotional experience.
Photo Gallery - All photos by Keith Barker
Against Me! - "Haunting, Haunted, Haunts"